Dementia Diabetes

Dementia and Diabetes: Risks and Links

Dementia and diabetes have long been known to have a connection.

Risk of death from low blood sugar

New findings show that the risk of death from very low blood sugar is far higher in those who have dementia and diabetes than those with just diabetes.

Those with diabetes and dementia have a 67 percent higher risk of dying from hypoglycemia, according to a 5-year study.

For people over 65 with both dementia and diabetes, the focus should be keeping a constant monitor on blood sugar levels using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to make sure episodes of hypoglycemia don’t occur.


Dementia and diabetes link

Having diabetes can heighten your risk of developing dementia, due to the long-term effects of high blood sugar on the body and the brain.

People with type 2 are more likely to develop the brain tangles that can lead to Alzheimer’s, a serious disease that leads to the deterioration of the brain and memory. Other factors that can lead to dementia include insulin resistance (without diabetes) and stress.

Researchers have long studied the close link between diabetes and dementia, specifically vascular dementia, caused by damaged blood vessels in the brain. The connection is so strong that some have called Alzheimer’s “type 3 diabetes.” Researchers have found that doses of nasal insulin can improve memory in people with early Alzheimer’s.

Those diagnosed with type 2 in middle age are at higher risk of developing dementia than those who are diagnosed after age 65.

What you can do

Managing your diabetes can decrease your risk of developing dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. Just as diabetes can affect other body parts like the nerves, the heart, and the feet, it can affect the brain. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, take care of your body, get on a fitness plan, and see a doctor to get on a path to wellness.